Deciding on a suitable weight loss app – help me choose
While there are a growing number of apps to assist weight loss, very few are credible. A study assessing the quality of mobile apps for weight management examined the presence of the following evidence-based strategies (Rivera J et al, 2016)1:
- self-monitoring capabilities which enable users to track parameters over time, such as weight, meals, nutrition (including protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and water), physical activity, cardiometabolic indicators, sleep, mental health indicators, including mood, thought patterns, cognitions, and stress, environmental influences, and custom metrics
- goal-setting with or without customization, such as weight loss goals, calorie balance goals, water intake goals, and physical activity goals
- healthy eating support such as healthy eating guidelines, meal plans, calorie balance goals, and nutritional information for specific foods
- physical activity support such as fitness plans, exercise guides, and tracking of daily physical activity
- social support such as online communication with other users
- weight and health assessment, with or without personalization such as BMI assessment
- motivational strategies including prompts, rewards, or gamified design
- personalized feedback such as through virtual meetings with a health coach or through notifications.
The study concluded that despite the abundance of mobile apps for weight management, the evidence-based quality of these apps remains generally poor. Very few apps included one or more of the above strategies. In addition, most apps do not involve health care experts in their development process, and have not undergone rigorous scientific testing.
App reviews: weight loss apps
The following weight loss apps have been reviewed.
- Rivera J, McPherson A, Hamilton J, Birken C, et al. Mobile Apps for Weight Management: A Scoping Review(external link). JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2016 Jul 26;4(3):e87.
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Disclaimer: Healthify’s app library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.